An Atlanta celebrity has stepped in to help a youth shelter on the verge of shutting down. Young People Matter is Atlanta’s only youth shelter for homeless children 18 and younger.
Media mogul Tyler Perry has given $45,000 to the shelter, the exact amount it needs to stay open through the end of the year. The temporary shelter was in danger of closing because federal funding runs out Sept. 30, and as of yet, it hasn't been renewed. Perry saw the story on Channel 2 Action News last week, called the newsroom, and offered to help.
“He’s real cool, real generous; not so uppity,”
said a teen named Deja. The 17-year-old was there Sunday when Perry singlehandedly walked through the door of her shelter and saved it. “It only took one person to help us and without him. Praises unto God because we wouldn't have made it,” Deja said. Emmanuel, another resident, agrees. “It made me realize somebody had been in my shoes, somebody understands and cares,"
he said. “For him to come all the way down here on his time and it was his 45th birthday,”
Simone Joye started the shelter in 2007. It expanded three years ago to help teens overnight. She said she's still in awe by Perry's generosity, calling him the "biggest blessing of our lives." “When we began our goal and requirement from the federal government was to serve 300 kids; 100 per year. We have served over 2,000,”
Kids like Deja and Emmanuel are giving big thanks to someone they're calling a big hero. “Please know that you have changed the destiny of young people that didn't believe they had a good one,”
said Joye. The director said now that they know they can stay open through Dec. 31, she's working on raising more money.